Italy's Berlusconi calls for cross-party alliance

ROME, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:58am EDT

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ROME, March 20 (Reuters) - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Wednesday the only viable new government would be a cross-party alliance between his centre-right coalition and the centre-left bloc led by Pier Luigi Bersani.

Speaking as President Giorgio Napolitano began formal consultations with the parties to try to form a government after last month's election stalemate which gave no party a majority, Berlusconi said Italy needed a "government of national accord".

However Berlusconi, who is due to meet Napolitano on Thursday, said Bersani appeared to favour an alliance with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of former comic Beppe Grillo.

"We have declared ourselves open to this but Bersani and his supporters keep stubbornly paying court to Grillo and the 'Grillini' even though they only keep getting rebuffed," he told his own Italia 1 television.

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